The Rise of Event Freelancers in the Middle East

Lee FordeRisk ManagementThe Rise of Event Freelancers in the Middle East
19 May 2017 Posted by Lee Forde Risk Management

The very real need for Event Freelancers!

In recent years, the number of international events taking place in the Middle East has accelerated; creating a shortfall in locally available labour. In the past five years finding experienced local labour had become extremely challenging; hence the rise in event freelancers who arrive from across the world.

The Rise of Event Freelancers in the Middle East -

The thriving global events industry relies heavily on specialist supply companies and independent freelancers who are needed for specific projects. Without those event freelancers, the industry would suffer greatly; if not entirely collapse. Supply companies cannot realistically afford to employ all the people they need to deliver an event. Instead they maintain a core-team supported by freelance personnel.

Work Visa restrictions throughout the Gulf States had exacerbated this shortfall.

By making it difficult for freelance staff to reside in the Gulf, event planning had no choice but to rely upon experienced freelancers from overseas

The Rise of Event Freelancers in the Middle East -

Typical additional freelance staffing needed includes:

Producers, Technical Production managers, Event managers, Event directors, Site Managers, Health and Safety managers, Crowd Management, Traffic Management, logistics Managers, Sound Designers, Lighting Designers, AV Technicians

Traditionally events staffing has been via local hire; by events management agencies or AV companies, Security companies, and general labour companies. Supplemented by hiring freelancers from overseas where budgets allow. However, as this is an expensive exercise it can hit the event budget even harder. Recent growth in the specialist event focused labour market has filled the gap; particularly for AV technicians and specialist technical labour.

Lifting of work visa restrictions has made it easier for specialist labour suppliers and event organisers to meet the increasingly demanding international event standards. This has already had a dramatic impact. Freelancers are now able to base themselves in the Middle East; as a small business, or working directly through a specialist labour supply companies on multiple projects.

Dubai has the highest concentration of freelance staff, and the highest number of specialist labour companies – all of which service the Gulf region. This new trend is spreading; and the take-up in Dubai is increasing the need for more freelance personnel across the whole Gulf.

Importantly it has broken down perceptions in the region that such positions are non-critical. It has increased the appreciation of the value that experienced, highly-trained Freelance event staff can bring to the success of any event.

As the eyes of the world are focused on the region for EXPO 2020 and FIFA World Cup 2022, it is extremely important for the region to meet; or better still, exceed international best practice and standards.

Improving awareness and appreciation for what Event Freelancers can provide should continue to help grow the Middle East staffing database.